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Prepare to die. His kingdom is near.
Sixteen-year-old trans boy Benji is on the run from the cult that raised him—the fundamentalist sect that unleashed Armageddon and decimated the world’s population. Desperately, he searches for a place where the cult can’t get their hands on him, or more importantly, on the bioweapon they infected him with.
But when cornered by monsters born from the destruction, Benji is rescued by a group of teens from the local Acheson LGBTQ+ Center, affectionately known as the ALC. The ALC’s leader, Nick, is gorgeous, autistic, and a deadly shot, and he knows Benji’s darkest secret: the cult’s bioweapon is mutating him into a monster deadly enough to wipe humanity from the earth once and for all.
Still, Nick offers Benji shelter among his ragtag group of queer teens, as long as Benji can control the monster and use its power to defend the ALC. Eager to belong, Benji accepts Nick’s terms…until he discovers the ALC’s mysterious leader has a hidden agenda, and more than a few secrets of his own.
A furious, queer debut novel about embracing the monster within and unleashing its power against your oppressors. Perfect for fans of Gideon the Ninth and Annihilation.
Content Warning: parental death, graphic death, body horror, violence, religious abuse, discussions of genocide; instances of homophobia, transphobia, misgendering, and deadnaming
⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ My Hell FOllowed with US Review:
Buckle up: once you start this engrossing, heart-filled, horror-ridden, incredible book – you won’t want to stop. I am obsessed with this stunning book. Filled with absolutely legend-level LQBTQ+ representation, this is a book that will stick with you and demand a reread.
Andrew Joseph White gets you out of your comfort zone with the vivid body horror descriptions and then makes you sick to your stomach with the horrors the MCs face as they try to survive as their authentic selves.
No matter how they identified, everyone was an individual and complex, which is something that is rare in books with the Queer rep tag that often go a little too hard on tropes.
While Benji’s journey (in all ways) was the raw, beating heart of the story, our peeks of Nick’s inner thoughts with his POV chapters add complexity and depth. The love story is unorthodox…only because Benji is turning into a 6 winged Seraph.
The writing is just impeccable – all the gory details AND character building AND plot? Please give me everything the author writes next.
This book had: Cults + end of days + climate + all the things. Andrew Joseph White is now on my immediate buy list. This also felt like the rage and feels I and others hold inside as the world burns around us.
Thanks to TBR and Beyond Tours & Peachtree Teen for the digital ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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Meet Author Andrew Joseph White:
Andrew Joseph White is a queer, trans author from Virginia, where he grew up falling in love with monsters and wishing he could be one too. He is a graduate student in George Mason University’s Creative Writing program and has a habit of cuddling random street cats. Andrew writes about trans kids with claws and fangs, and what happens when they bite back.
He is represented by Zabé Ellor of the Jennifer de Chiara Literary Agency. Author photo by Alice Scott.